Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/105

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carry them, for their range in the direction of the Pole exceeds that of any other land bird? In hedge-row elms the Fieldfares chatter noisily as they discuss their approaching journey, while the grey-backed Hooded Crows, which have haunted tidal river or rocky shore through the winter, wing their way more sedately to the north.

In the woods in early April the year still seems to be marking time, so little progress towards leafing do we note from day to day. Only where a shade of green creeps over the larches, have we the look and smell of spring. But there is spring in the air, and birds on all sides answer to her magic call. The ancient Carrion Crow tunes his voice to soft, unwonted modulations, and amorous Jays, discarding their harsh screech, produce a combination of notes almost rising to the level of a song. Magpies cough and chuckle as, with the thorniest of twigs, they seek to render impregnable their stick-built fortress in the larch.

There is spring in the Nuthatch's clear whistle and in his sounding taps upon the oak bough, while the Ring Dove, leaving his perch with clap of wings, shoots upward, remains motionless for a moment on expanded pinions, and then glides downwards as if on an inclined plane of air. Now also in the still woods is heard that curious jarring sound, as of a tree trunk suddenly rent, which is the Spotted Woodpecker's call to his mate. The Green Woodpecker chuckles joyously and